Eric Heiden is an American physician and a former long track speed skater, road cyclist and track cyclist. He won an unprecedented five individual gold medals, and set four Olympic records and one world record at the 1980 Winter Olympic Games. Heiden was the most successful athlete at those Olympic Games, single-handedly winning more gold medals than all nations except for the Soviet Union (10) and East Germany (9). He is the most successful Winter Olympian from a single edition of any Winter Olympics. He delivered the Athlete’s Oath at those same 1980 Games. His coach was Dianne Holum.
Olympics – 1980 – Lake Placid Winter Games – Men’s Speed Skating Highlights – USA Eric Heiden Sweeps The Field While Winning 5 Gold Medals With 5 Olympic Records
Heiden is an icon in the speed skating community. His victories are significant, as few speed skaters (and athletes in general) have won competitions in both sprint and long-distance events. Heiden is the only athlete in the history of speed skating to have won all five events in a single Olympic tournament and the only one to have won a gold medal in all events. He is considered by some to be the best overall speed skater (short and long distances) in the sport’s history. Heiden ranked No. 46 in ESPN’s SportsCentury 50 Greatest Athletes of the 20th Century in 1999, the only speed skater to make the list. In 2000, a Dutch newspaper called him the greatest skater ever.
Speed Skating – 1977 To 1980 – Special – USA Eric Heiden: The Man Who Dominated Every Major Race In Speed Skating for Four Years
Heiden was born in Madison, Wisconsin on June 14, 1958. His sister, Beth Heiden, also became an accomplished cyclist, speed skater and cross-country skier. In their hometown Shorewood Hills, Wisconsin (a village next to the city of Madison’s near west side), Eric and his sister Beth were the driving forces behind the creation of the Heiden Haus, a small outpost where local children can warm up after skating or playing hockey on the ice rink (complete with underground clay platform). He graduated from Madison West High School in 1976. After starting his undergraduate education at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Heiden transferred to Stanford University in California, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in 1984 and a medical degree in 1991.
Speed Skating – 1979 – World Championship Men’s 1500 m Gold Medal Race With USA Eric Heiden
Heiden won the World Junior Speed Skating Championships in 1977 and 1978. During his short speed skating career, Heiden won three World All Around Championships and four World Sprint Championships. Three times he broke the world record in the 1000 metres, twice in the 3000 metres, and once each in the 1500 metres and 10000 metres. He also broke the points world record in both all around and the sprinting distances…..as he ended up winning 13 out of 14 major world championship competitions with 5 for 5 gold in the Olympics….3 of 4 World Speed Skating All Around competitions, while place 2nd and winning Silver in the 4th….plus taking the gold in 4 of 4 World Sprint Championship competition….as no skater has ever posted such a record.
Olympics & Speed Skating – 2012 – Special Interview With USA Eric Heiden As He Reflects On Winning Every Men’s Speed Skating Gold Medal At The 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics
Heiden finished his speed skating career by finishing second behind Hilbert van der Duim at the 1980 World Allround Championships in Heerenveen. He stood at the top of the Adelskalender, a ranking system for long-track speed skating, for a record 1,495 days, and he won the Oscar Mathisen Award four times in a row from 1977 until 1980. As of 2016, he still is the only skater who has won the award four times. He received the 1980 James E. Sullivan Award as the top amateur athlete in the United States. In 1983, he was inducted into the United States Olympic Hall of Fame. Heiden was elected to the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame in 1990.
Cycling – 1986 – Tour De France Special – Profile Of The USA Team 7 – 11 – With Interview Of Eric Heiden
After his speed-skating career Heiden became a professional cyclist. As a track cyclist Heiden competed at the 1981 UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Brno, but was not successful. He finished 19th and last in the men’s individual pursuit event. Heiden became a professional racing cyclist. He was one of the first cross-over athletes, becoming a founding member of the 7-Eleven Cycling Team. Together with his former speed skating coach (and ex-bike racer), Jim Ochowicz, he conceived of the idea of a European-style sponsored team for North American riders. Heiden won a few American professional races. He finished the 1985 Giro d’Italia and took part in the 1986 Tour de France, although he did not complete the race, crashing on a downhill stretch and suffering a concussion five days from the finish.
Cycling – 1987 – Special – Eric Heiden Setting Old La Honda Record At 14:10
Heiden is believed to have recorded one of the fastest times at 14:10 (1986 or 1987) on one of the local benchmark climbs in Woodside, California: Old La Honda Road. In 1985, Heiden won the first U.S. Professional Cycling Championship, becoming the American road race champion. In 1999, Heiden was inducted into the United States Bicycling Hall of Fame. At the end of the day when the chips fall here at ImaSportsphile…..Eric Heiden is the only athlete who graces our sports video museum who achieved Hall of Fame Induction status in two different sports…..speed skating and road cycling…..which says a whole lot about this man’s unique athleticism…..as well as supports our opinion that he was truly one of the greatest to ever grace the world of sports…..for he deserves his place here with us.
Speed Skating & Cycling – 2010 – Special – HOF Speed Skater & HOF Cyclist Eric Heiden Talks About Training